Did you know that what you eat and when you eat it affects not only your overall health but your dental health too? Eating healthy foods help keep your teeth and body healthy. That’s why you should try to keep the amount of sweets you eat or drink to a minimum. If you have something sweet, try to eat or drink it with a meal to limit the exposure time to your teeth.
What to Eat:
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which encourages healthy eating, a healthy diet should include:
- Fruits and vegetables. Combined these should be half of what you eat every day.
- Grains. Make sure at least half of the grains you eat are whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole wheat bread and brown rice.
- Dairy. Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy foods.
- Lean proteins. Make lean protein choices, such as lean beef, skinless poultry and fish. Try and vary your protein choices to include eggs, beans, peas and legumes, too. Eat at least 8 oz. of seafood a week.
- Snacking is hard to resist but you can do your mouth a favor by watching the amount of soda, juice or other sweetened beverages you drink.
- If you want a snack, try and choose something like fruit, low-fat cheese, yogurt or raw vegetables.
- If you chew gum, make sure it’s sugarless. Certain sugarless gums have earned the ADA Seal of Acceptance for helping prevent cavities by strengthening teeth. Look for the ADA Seal on the package.
If you have braces: Good oral hygiene habits such as brushing and flossing are especially important for people wearing braces. Your dentist may recommend avoiding certain foods that could interfere with braces or accidentally bend the wires. These foods may include nuts, popcorn, hard candy, ice and sticky foods like chewing gum, caramel or other chewy candy. If you have trouble with certain foods, try cutting them into smaller pieces first. For instance, slicing apples or carrots before eating them.
You may also experience problems eating after your braces are tightened–teeth may feel sore. The first few days are the worst, so try eating softer foods such as scrambled eggs, oatmeal, pasta, smoothies, and soups until your mouth feels better.